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Uganda leader defends wife's job

President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet Museveni in Entebbe, Uganda, in November 2007
President Yoweri Museveni denies nepotism

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has defended the controversial appointment of his wife, Janet, to the cabinet during a reshuffle three weeks ago.

He told the BBC he had made her minister of the troubled region of Karamoja because no other members of his government wanted to work there.

The appointment has led to renewed accusations of nepotism in Uganda.

The president's son and brother are among members of his family who already hold senior official positions.

The first lady was appointed Karamoja affairs minister in a 17 February cabinet reshuffle.

KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY?
Gen Caleb Akandwanaho - Mr Museveni's brother - senior presidential advisor on defence
Sam Kutesa - brother-in-law - foreign affairs minister
Lt Col Muhoozi Kainerugaba - son - commander of special forces
Natasha Karugire - daughter - private secretary to the president
Hope Nyakairu - relative of first lady - finance under secretary at state house
Justus Karuhanga - first lady's nephew - president's private secretary for legal affairs

"Maybe she can help me in this area where… the elite don't want to go," Mr Museveni, who was in London for Commonwealth Day celebrations, told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

"Once I appointed a minister and he said: 'No, no, that [Karamoja] is too backward, I don't want to go there."

Mr Museveni denied nepotism, telling the BBC he had initially been "totally against" his wife going into politics.

But he said supporters had lobbied for the first lady to stand as MP for the south-western seat of Ruhama in 2006.

"I said: 'No. I don't want my wife to be involved'. So I had to relent and the lady went and stood and she got the biggest majority in the whole country," Mr Museveni said.

Mr Museveni has been in power since 1987.

A constitutional limit of two presidential terms was overturned to let him seek re-election in 2006.



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SEE ALSO
Country profile: Uganda
10 Dec 08 |  Country profiles

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